HOUSTON – The Houston Astros will open with left-hander Framber Valdez against the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the World Series beginning Tuesday night.
Valdez, 27, is coming off the best start of any pitcher this postseason after completing eight innings and allowing just one run against the Boston Red Sox in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. He will be opposed by the Braves right, Charlie Morton.
“I expect a formidable foe,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said Sunday. “When you get to the last two teams, you can’t overlook anyone.
“David (the Braves) just killed Goliath. They have a good team.”
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers has almost been ruled out of the World Series after missing the American League Championship Series with tight forearm. The decision on center fielder Jake Meyers (shoulder) is pending. The lists don’t have to become official until Tuesday morning. The series features several connections between the Astros and the Braves, including one involving the late and legendary Hank Aaron, Baker, and Braves manager Brian Snitker.
“Hank Aaron hired him and Hank Aaron was very close to me,” Baker said. “To be in the year of Hank Aaron’s celebration, to be in the year of Hank Aaron’s passing … it’s very special to come back to Atlanta. It will be a storybook ending for all of us.”
There is also a family connection between the teams, as Astros coach Troy Snitker is the son of the Braves manager. The two have been discussing the possibility of meeting in the World Series since both teams lost by one game in the Fall Classic last year.
“It’s unbelievable,” said the younger Snitker. “It’s something we were praying for and hoping would happen. For our family, I don’t know if we can imagine something bigger than this.”
Troy was asked who his mother was supporting.
“I have no idea,” he said with a smile. “I don’t know if she’s going to clap when something happens or cry. I guess so. It’s going to be a disaster.
“It’s great to think of two flags in the same house. One of us will bring the trophy home.”